Introduction

Analog CCTV cameras used for surveillance purposes are being slowly phased out by IP cameras. These IP cameras compress video in MJPEG / MPEG-4 or H.264 and send it over Ethernet / Wi-Fi. A surveillance system may consist of multiple cameras. A VMS (video management software) system is necessary to manage these multiple video streams (including real-time viewing and archiving for later retrieval).

Companies such as Swann provide complete NVR systems which bundle a dedicated recorder with hard disk storage and multiple cameras. On the other hand, we have standalone cameras compatible with the ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) standards. They can interface with third-party VMS solutions which are ONVIF-compatible. These third-party VMS solutions can run on a PC or be an app / add-on for NAS devices.

Over the last few years, we have been working on improving our coverage of network attached storage (NAS) devices. The focus has been on performance, usability and reliability in generic scenarios. NAS units, however, have varied usage modes. With increased surveillance needs (at homes and offices), consumers often end up dedicating a NAS as a network video recorder (NVR). While some vendors such as Thecus and QNAP offer dedicated NVRs, other such as LenovoEMC and Synology tag on NVR capabilities to their NAS models using add-ons. While Synology develops their Surveillance Station in-house, LenovoEMC works with a third-party, Milestone Systems, to add NVR capabilities to their x86-based NAS models.

LenovoEMC provided us with a review unit of the PX2-300D NVR along with two Axis M1031-W IP cameras. The PX2-300D NVR edition is the same as the PX2-300D (specifications below) in terms of hardware. The NVR edition comes bundled with enterprise HDDs (Our review unit had 2x Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 HUA723020ALA640 2TB drives). From the firmware perspective, the NVR edition comes bundled with the Milestone Arcus VMS. Four camera licenses are included. Arcus from Milestone Systems is a new Linux-based VMS solution for embedded systems to go along with their XProtect VMS for Microsoft Windows.

LenovoEMC PX2-300D Specifications
Processor Intel Atom D525 (2C/4T, 1.80 GHz)
RAM 2 GB DDR3 RAM
Drive Bays 2x 3.5"/2.5" SATA 6 Gbps HDD / SSD (Hot-swappable)
Network Links 2x 1 GbE
USB Slots 1x USB 3.0 / 2x USB 2.0
eSATA Slots None
Expansion Slots Yes (1 PCIe for Analog PCIe encoder)
VGA / Display Out VGA
Full Specifications Link LenovoEMC PX2-300D Hardware Specs

Evaluating a NVR is mostly a subjective qualitative exercise. At AnandTech, we are big fans of Synology's NAS units. Since we had a couple of them lying around, we requested Synology for a Surveillance Station license (4-pack). Thanks to Synology, we were able to obtain a frame of reference while talking about Milestone Arcus in the PX2-300D. In the first section, we will take a look at the setup process and browser-based usage. In the second section, we will take a look at the Android app for surveillance using a smartphone / tablet. We will conclude with a look at some power consumption numbers.

Setup Impressions
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  • Duckhunt2 - Sunday, February 16, 2014 - link

    No you are all wrong. You bolt a heat sink with fins onto the gun safe and get some thermal grease. You do not have to drill right through the skin. Just a 1\4inch and tap it and put in bolts to hold the heat sink. Make sure it is making as much contact as possible.
    Then internally you have to cut/machine some steel to make a good contact for the heat sink on the motheboard to make contact with the skin of the gunsafe. It is alot of mucking around. It has been done here in the USA many years ago. USA USA. American know-how exported around the world.
    Reply
  • cmart - Monday, July 29, 2013 - link

    I'm no physicist, but in practice if you cool the outside of a safe (or any hollow container) you essentially cool the inside. If the safe -- think of it as a large heat sink -- is in a cool room, the interior should stay reasonably cool with only one device running in it. Reply
  • Dentons - Monday, July 29, 2013 - link

    Most modern computer systems are designed to be cooled by convection. This is why placing a computer in a sealed cabinet can cause it to overheat, even when the outer cabinet is in an otherwise cool environment.

    What would happen if you put a small computer in a large insulated cooler? Even if the computer only gave off a small amount of heat, it would continually produce ever more heat. Eventually, the inside temperature of the cooler would reach a very high temperature, even if the cooler were located inside a cool room.

    It's no different with a safe. A large metal safe with fire insulation is little different from an insulated cooler. A few bolt holes in the bottom would be very unlikely to provide adequate convection currents.

    There are some systems designed for use without air cooling, but they are generally expensive industrial systems. There are a few ways this might be successfully accomplished. One is by the installation of fans and cooling ducts, but such might reduce the fire resistance. Another might be to attach heat pipes directly from the system's CPU to the wall of the safe. Either could be finicky and perhaps unreliable.

    Placing any consumer level system within an unventilated safe is probably a bad idea.
    Reply
  • Duckhunt2 - Sunday, February 16, 2014 - link

    Again, you can put a temperature control on the outside and it could turn off the power to the computer and sound an alarm. There are so many possibilities. There are computers in strong boxes and all these things written about have been overcome. Some of the longest living computers are built inside strong boxes . Reply
  • mamun - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Need to details to my mail. mamunv6@gmail.com Reply
  • DocNo - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    And if you haven't heard of them, be sure to check out Ubiquity's AirVision cameras. The system isn't perfect, has some gaps (no IR/nightvision, outdoor camera is wimpy, limited number of cameras) but if your needs are covered by their existing cameras the NVR software they provide is pretty nice considering it's free with the cameras. And if you have the need for a handful of AP's, their UniFi managed wifi system is also really hard to beat for the price. Again, not perfect but amazing for the price. Reply

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